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Horses Help – One Family’s Journey

Read this heartwarming story about Andrea and her family’s journey with Horses Help, including her husband Simon and daughter Karley.

horses-help-in-cave-creek-az-august-2016-9My name is Andrea, and I would like to share our journey with Horses Help. They have played a huge role in our lives over this past year. We are humbled and honored to be chosen to be a featured family. We are thankful for this opportunity to share our story. Thank you for your support and taking the time to read our story.

My husband, Simon and I are high school sweethearts and have been together 13 years (Dating & Married combined). We’ve always had a passion for youth and adoption. We had known we were going to adopt but didn’t know the timeline would be so soon, nor that we would have a teenager for our firstborn.

horses-help-in-cave-creek-az-august-2016-41We met Karley (which is a miraculous story of its own) July 2015 and it was an instant fit. We would have taken her home with us day one. Instead, we spent the next eight weeks traveling back and forth from Phoenix to Tucson doing weekly visits while details were finished. We had the privilege of bringing her home October 10th 2015. We drove to get her, and our home was forever changed. On August 4th, 2016 she was officially made a part of the Peterson family.

horses-help-horse-close-upKarley has a heart ready and willing to encourage those she encounters. She is funny, creative, and intelligent. She is passionate about the orphans (and really anyone or animal in need). She has a smile that will brighten your day and a contagious giggle. Even though she has been though a lot of strife and struggle, joy and hope remain. She is a mini Simon in a lot of personality traits. Amazingly she looks like she is our biological child which we all find as a special treat.

horses-help-colorado-horses-aspenI had previously volunteered with a program similar to Horses Help in CO. It has been imprinted on my heart the powerful way that animals, especially horses can be used to promote healing, encouragement, confidence, relationship, and so much more. When Karley first moved home, I did lots of research and ended up deciding on Horses Help. Karley loves animals and was excited for this opportunity for her to get to participate in this program.

horses-help-in-cave-creek-az-august-2016-7I would like to say that the ride has been all giggle and sunshine, but that is not that case. We showed up for our intake interview to meet with Kerri. During our interview, Karley went from excited to come to never wanting to come back again. Fear and insecurity can cause us to make decisions and react in situations differently than if we were completely comfortable. When Kerri and I were speaking privately, she looked across the table at me and said: “I am so excited to work with Karley, she is such a neat girl!” Kerri was able to see through what my child was displaying to what was inside. Kerri could see that Karley needed someone to invest in her, show her worth, and not give up.

horses-help-in-cave-creek-az-august-2016-38Karley agreed to a three sessions trail to see if she would continue with Horses Help. She unenthusiastically showed up for her first visit. And by the time I picked her up an hour later she was so happy she had come. She was a natural with the animals and Friday’s with Buddy soon became the highlight of the week. She had great progress and learned many new skills. Each week she would come home with stories and adventures with Buddy, the goats, or any animal she got to work with. She got to participate in the Spring Round Up around Easter time. It was an excellent program put together for the community. She showed off her skills of walking Buddy through an obstacle course.

hh-truth-love-and-power-core-principles-concept-logoKerri is Karley’s leader, and they have a special bond. She has been a loyal, diligent, and encouraging role in Karley’s life. She speaks truth in love and is invested in Karley. She is flexible and adapts to daily activity. Refinement is a tricky thing because just like with a precious stone it takes heat and pressure to produce the most valued diamond. We have to learn tools to help succeed in any situation good or bad, and Kerri & Horses Help is filling Karley’s toolbox with tools to succeed. The path has been exciting and full of challenges, surprises, and refinement.

Our one year anniversary of working with Horses Help is just around the corner, and we could not be more thrilled than to have gotten the opportunity to work with them. When Kerri invited us into the office to ask if we would be one of the featured families we reminisced about the first time we met in the office with turmoil and how almost a year later we are getting the chance to share our story with you. Karley has been exceeding her goals and getting to make new goals to work towards.

horses-help-in-cave-creek-az-august-2016-37Horses Help has provided a much-needed support for our daughter. It is a safe and welcoming place where you are accepted as you are. They are willing to get down and dirty to reveal the treasure. We have seen amazing growth in Karley over the past year, and we are excited to continue along this path of unity, growth, healing, and love. May Horses Help continue to change lives by providing excellent leaders who are deeply invested in the kids, programs that challenge and excite the youth, and by being a support to the local community. We have been blessed to work with Horses Help.


Simon, Andrea, & Karley

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Horses Help is a PATH International Premier Accredited therapeutic and recreational agency that has been providing Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities since 1987. Utilizing specially trained horses, PATH International-Certified Instructors, AHA-Certified Physical and Occupational Therapists, and community volunteers we serve participants ranging in age from three to seniors. Participants enjoy weekly sessions enabling them to learn horsemanship, riding skills, build horse and human relationships, and receive therapy.

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